Friday, March 1, 2024

Tropical Depression Florence heads inland, ‘major to record’ flooding endangers Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender counties

The bottom line, from local officials, is 'if you stayed, stay put, if you evacuated, stay put.'

A truck drives through a flooded section of River Road near the Cape Fear River, Saturday, September 15, 2018 (Port City Daily photo | Mark Darrough)
A truck drives through a flooded section of River Road near the Cape Fear River, Saturday, September 15, 2018. (Port City Daily photo | Mark Darrough)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Near constant rain since Florence’s arrival on the coast have proved to be as dangerous — if not more dangerous — than the hurricane-force winds, causing record-breaking flooding throughout Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties.

While remnants of Hurrican Florence, now a tropical depression, is moving faster now, even at approximately 8 miles-per-hour it is still drenching the Carolinas, causing rivers and tidal creeks to overflow, swamping roads and flooding entire subdivisions.

Additional rainfall in the area will continue to push waterways over their banks, increasing the danger of flooding. (Port City Daily photo | National Weather Serrvice)
Additional rainfall in the area will continue to push waterways over their banks, increasing the danger of flooding. (Port City Daily photo | National Weather Serrvice)

The National Weather Service continues to warn of “Life-threatening, catastrophic flash flooding and river flooding.” (You can read the latest briefing here.)

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality advises residents to avoid contact with flood waters, as the carry water-borne diseases. The Cape Fear River, which crested its banks yesterday, has also been contaminated by a massive 5-million-gallon wastewater spill, and residents are advised by the state’s environmental agency to avoid those waters with particular caution.

Officials in all three counties have told residents who remained behind to weather the storm to “stay off the roads.” Local emergency response teams report downed wires, sinkholes, and deceptively deep water on numerous roadways; the latest National Weather Service update also cites the danger of collapsing roadways and moving water that can easily carry a medium-sized passenger vehicle off the road.

Hurricane Florence’s death toll is now over a dozen people, including a mother and child killed in downtown Wilmington by a falling tree, storm-related car crashes, and residents trapped by flood waters.

Those who evacuated are being told that extreme flooding may prevent safe re-entry for a matter of weeks, not days. Duke Energy reports power has been restored to some areas, but hundreds of thousands are still in the dark.

Most major grocery chains and superstores remain closed due to the power outage, but at least nine Harris Teeter grocery stores in the Leland, Wilmington, and Hampstead area were open Sunday morning.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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